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Anchor Lane - 'Casino' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/0b/4e/f9/Anchor-Lane-Casino-76-1630177779.jpg Hot

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There are enough glimpses of promise on 'Casino' to suggest the chips may be stacked in their favour.

This Glaswegian four-piece are an interesting proposition. They play Modern Rock that tips its hat to bands like Royal Blood, Alter Bridge, Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age, but they also have a bluesy feel that gives their music an occasional Classic Rock vibe. They've previously released an EP called 'New Beginnings' and have been garnering support for their energetic live performances. 'Casino' is their debut album and I would say it's a step up from the EP.

The group's sound is centred around Lawrence O'Brien's tight riffing, and these insistent riffs along with Scott Hanlon's steady drumming gives the music a robotic, QOTSA edge. Singer Conor Gaffney has a good voice that he controls well and it imbues the tracks with plenty of melody.

The release kicks off with 'Blood & Irony' which does Rock a bit, but you really expect it to go up through the gears more than it actually does. It's an unusual choice for an opener as plenty of the other songs are stronger. You want them to really let loose more on the tracks because it can be too polite at times.

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However, they have an ear for a tune which has piqued the interest of Toby Jepson (Wayward Sons, Little Angels) who produces, while Ricky Warwick (Black Star Riders, The Almighty) co-writes two tracks and sings on one ('Deadrun').

The single 'Fame Shame' is the first sign of their song-writing talent and it features a deceptively simple yet addictive hook. It reminds you of Jepson's current outfit Wayward Sons as it mixes abrasive Hard Rock with Pop nous and socially-aware lyrics. Their tight riffing and rhythm section mean the Funk-infused 'Voodoo' plays to their strengths, whereas they show their Classic Rock credentials on the bluesy title-track which might appeal to a few fans of Rival Sons.

Their tick-tock rhythm works a treat on the well-written Pop Rock of 'Clocks' and 'Flatline' with its simple "Na, na, na" chorus, and the latter should be an absolute blast live with its sing-along potential. There's an expected and welcome Black Sabbath influence on 'Honey' with its thick, ominous riffing that's straight out of the Toni Iommi song-writing book before Gaffney's voice takes the track elsewhere.

The album title alludes to the gamble that being in the music business can be, but there are enough glimpses of promise on 'Casino' to suggest the chips may be stacked in their favour.

Duncan Jamieson

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